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Truckers News Staff | February 01, 2012

Cars not trucks: California’s dirty truth

California cities and counties dominate the “dirtiest-air” list in the American Lung Association’s 2011 State-of-the-Air report. The dirty air isn’t from big trucks, and I’m not the only one who says so (but I can’t find an authoritative quote — and I know they exist because I’ve read them — to back up that claim, and I have to go pick up a load soon, so I don’t have time to look).

Consider: The ALA’s report says Salinas, Calif., (where Bobby McGee “slipped away”) has some of the nation’s cleanest air; it also has heavy big-truck traffic due to its massive produce market.

The California Air Resources Board’s continued focus on big-truck exhaust is beyond merely misguided; it’s insane. In heavily polluted areas like Los Angeles, the newer trucks actually clean the air: emit cleaner air than they take in. With time, as motor carriers replace older trucks with newer ones, big-truck pollution issues will simply cease to exist. This won’t happen overnight — it can’t — but it is happening.

In other words, Class 8 engine makers have solved the attendant pollution problems; it’s just a matter of time now as motor carriers replace older trucks.

California’s well-documented, severe and health-degrading air-pollution problems are caused by too many cars, too many people and too much industry. But to address these causes, the state would have to just about tear down and rebuild its $1.8 trillion economy and its citizens’ fundamental lifestyles, which are car-based.

In the 1960s pop hit, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” Dionne Warwick sang, “LA is a great, big freeway. Put a hundred down and buy a car.”

California has yet to outgrow that outdated and unhealthy mentality. Until it does — and until it becomes willing surrender its high-dollar industry (California is by far the leading military contractor state) in favor of cleaning up its air — I guess its air resources board will continue to psychotically place blame for the state’s hazardous air everywhere and anywhere—leaf blowers, Weed Eaters and lawn mowers? Please! Please! — except where it belongs: on the state’s 30-plus million citizens whose car-based lifestyles and industry-based incomes create massive air pollution.

 

Andy Haraldson

Boca Raton, Fla.

 

SOUND OFF

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What are your feelings on the new hours-of-service rule?

| Via Facebook |

Every driver should set a minimum gross and time at home for the year, and if a company cannot meet these minimums then it’s time to find one that will. This puts the ball in the company’s court to make sure that if laws lower available time to work then the company will have to increase pay and/or decrease layover, increase miles or pay for all wait time for drivers. — Lee W.

The non-truck-driving community messed things up yet again. Put these lawmakers behind the wheel with dispatchers that think you should be at the delivery when you just left the shipper. They may just change their minds — Riley M.

Final straw. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’m out of here. Without split break, they can kiss my a–. — Joe P.

Truck drivers do what truck drivers do to get the job done that’s expected of truck drivers, within reason, of course. I am not a member of the Hours of Service B—- and Whine Club. Never have been, never will be. The true professionals of this industry are a dying breed. — James J.

That’s just one of the reasons why I retired from trucking. I got tired of being dispatched on loads that were “late right out of the gate” and physically impossible to deliver on time. — Michael O.

FMCSA seems to have very little concern for the way four-wheeler traffic operates around commercial vehicles. New hours-of-service rules will have very little effect on highway safety, if any at all. With more and more traffic on the road every year, they can regulate us all into bankruptcy, and highway safety will not have been changed one little bit. They need a general traffic safety administration, not one that just targets trucks, when trucks aren’t the problem. — Duncan B.

Not really too worried at the moment. I’m sure they will change them a few more times before the final ruling. Not that they will get any better. I’m with the others; put the lawmakers under the same rules and see how they like it. Not that it will happen. — Bruce C.

Trucking is unsafe, period. Always has been and always will be a dangerous job. Educate, don’t regulate! Teach the general public to give us a little space. That would have a greater effect on reducing serious crashes than new hours of service will. — Duncan B.

| Via Twitter |

Disappointed … 11 hours on duty is not about safety. Also, I wanted to see the 5-on/5-off schedule put back for teams. — @TruckerDee

No real feelings on it. The 34 will be harder to obtain. But other than that I don’t see a big deal. @ravin4565

 

6 tons of potato pride

Trucking news emerged from the Dec. 16 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl like a shoot from a half-pound baker left on the windowsill. Women in Trucking sponsored a salute to the females of our industry during the televised contest — and check out the giant re-creation of one of those half-pound Idaho symbols of pride, set on a trailer and pulled by a Kenworth T660 supplied by the Kenworth Sales Company on a one-year rental contract. Unveiled at the football game (the Ohio Bobcats bested the Utah State Aggies in a last-minute squeaker), the 6-ton, 28-foot-long potato created over the course of a year has since set off on a tour behind the Kenworth T660 pictured in honor of the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary. While the eye-catching more-than-a-spud can’t be eaten, it will foster a lot of looks and photos, and that’s exactly what the IPC wants. To learn more about the tour, go to http://www.bigidahopotato.com, or check out the Dec. 28 entry on Truckers News Senior Editor Todd Dills’ Channel 19 blog: http://www.overdriveonline.com/channel19.

 

 

How will trucking issues play into this year’s presidential election?

“Pay scales are not reflecting the demands of the industry — it’s a cutthroat industry, a dog-eat-dog industry. All the competition holds down wages. And technology’s great, but drivers are a little overwhelmed with everything — a lot of drivers have information overload at this point. If the government were to do anything to help me, I want equal protection under the law. If I’m not allowed to put a handset to my ear, why are auto drivers allowed to do that?”

 

James Shellenberger

Roehl Transport

Wisconsin

 

“New rules and regulations are making it more and more difficult for us to make money … You get penalized for being a truck driver.”

 

David Powell

J.B. Hunt company driver

Kentucky

 

We’ve got a man in office now who’s obviously never even sat in a truck. And they want to fine us $2,750 for talking on the phone. We’re an important industry out here — it doesn’t matter what you have, it all comes to you from us.”

James Hunt

Alamo Express company driver

Tennessee

 

 

 

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